Cillian Murphy Was Vegetarian for 15 Years Before Eating Meat for ‘Peaky Blinders’ to Look Like Thomas Shelby

Cillian Murphy adopted a vegetarian diet during his late teens but for his role as Thomas Shelby in “Peaky Blinders,” he chose to adjust his diet to better fit the character, who would have likely been a meat-eater.

This isn’t the only time Murphy has changed his eating habits for a role. His dedication to acting often involves making personal changes to bring authenticity to his characters.

Recently, Murphy’s extreme diet caught attention during the filming of “Oppenheimer.” His co-star Matt Damon revealed to Entertainment Tonight, “He was losing so much weight for the part that he just didn’t eat dinner, ever.” Emily Blunt, who plays Oppenheimer’s wife in the film, added that Murphy was eating “one almond most nights or a little slice of apple.”

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But altering his diet for roles is not new for Murphy. He shared with Mr Porter in 2017 about changing his diet for “Peaky Blinders.” “I was vegetarian for about 15 years. But it was never a moral decision. It was more that I was worried about getting mad cow disease,” he explained, referring to the disease that affected British cattle in the 1980s.

“For the first series of ‘Peaky Blinders’, they were anxious that I shouldn’t look like a skinny Irish fella, and my trainer recommended meat.” This switch was significant, as he starred in the hit show for six seasons from 2013 to 2022.

Murphy’s first meal back as a meat-eater was a venison steak. Recounting the experience, he said, “When the waiter asked if I’d like the fish or the venison, I hesitated and he said, ‘Have the venison.’ He was right. It was extraordinary.”

Murphy is among several celebrities who have shifted from vegetarian or vegan diets for various reasons. In his case, the change was not about bulking up but about fitting the historical period and character profile more accurately.

After “Peaky Blinders,” Murphy’s career has continued to flourish with diverse roles. His remarkable ability to adapt, including dietary changes, has made him a standout in the acting world. With his name now being mentioned as a potential Oscar contender for 2024, Murphy’s dedication to his craft is clearly paying off.